Ex-Surtees Race-Winner And Rare Chinetti-Commissioned Spider join Salon Privé’s Ferrari 75th Anniversary Celebration
A brace of significant Ferraris from road and track will appear in Ferrari’s 75th Anniversary class at the Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance presented by Aviva next month. Two significant cars have been confirmed, which, in their own way, played an important role in raising Ferrari’s profile in the Sixties, and today are lauded by Ferrari cognoscenti around the world. They are the launch Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S ‘NART SPIDER’ and rare, Classiche-accredited, racing Ferrari 365 P.
Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S ‘NART SPIDER’
In September 1967, USA magazine Road & Track declared its cover car, the very first Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S NART Spider produced, to be ‘the most satisfying sports car in the world.’ Rare though any NART Spider is, the example set to be displayed at Salon Privé next month as part of its Ferrari 75th Anniversary class, is particularly significant, being one of two aluminium bodied cars, and the 1967 New York Auto Show launch example.
When it was debuted by Luigi Chinetti, Ferrari’s North American importer, and one of the few who held Enzo Ferrari’s ear about Maranello’s future products, had identified a gap in his US line-up. After the revised 275 GTB/4 model was introduced in 1966, with no replacement for the previous 275 GTS convertible, Chinetti was left with only the ‘softer’ 330 GTS to cater for his customers wanting an open-topped Ferrari. And that was a shame, because the 275 GTB/4 was markedly superior to the previous GTB. The ‘4’ suffix brought double-overhead cams per cylinder bank (versus the previous car’s single cams), dry-sump lubrication, six instead of three Weber 40 DCN carburettors delivering fuel to its Colombo V12 engine, and an increase in power to 300bhp.
Chinetti’s plea to Ferrari was to convert a limited number of 275 GTB/4s to open-top specification, offering his American customers a broader range overall, and the option of harder-core topless performance. Ferrari agreed, and Chinetti started promoting the car, as only he was able to do.
Unofficially, Chinetti named the car the 275 GTB/4 S NART Spider, N.A.R.T. standing for North American Racing Team, which he ran. So, it was no surprise that the first NART Spider to be built – chassis 09437, the aluminium-bodied sister car to the example appearing at Salon Privé – was pushed into service at the 12 Hours of Sebring race in 1967, where it finished second in class. But causing an even bigger stir was the same car’s appearance in a now-memorable scene from the 1968 film, The Thomas Crown Affair, with Steve McQueen, who was so smitten with his co-star that he acquired the car after filming was complete. Nine years ago, RM Sotheby’s sold the same car for $27.5m, illustrating how sought after NART Spiders have become.
And rarity has contributed to that desirability. Remarkably, Chinetti only sold ten NART Spiders, so seeing one at a concours today, such as the upcoming Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance, is very special. Chassis 09751 arrived with Chinetti’s on March 27, 1967, costing $8,024, and was sent directly to the aforementioned New York Auto Show. Thereafter, it was offered in a straight exchange with a 275 GTS, with which Chinetti’s customer Alfred Goldschmidt had been dissatisfied.
Over the next 27 years, chassis 09751 passed through three more US-based keepers, before being purchased by its current owner in 1994 after a long period of neglect. Doing much of the light restorative work himself, the owner presented the car at Pebble Beach’s August 1994 concours, where it achieved a third in class. Since then, the NART Spider has been driven on rallies and tours throughout the US, as well as the Highlands Tour in Scotland and the Spirit of Yves Classic Run Monaco.
After such extensive use, the car underwent a full restoration in 2020, resulting in a second-in-class at Pebble Beach Concours last year.
Salon Privé’s Chairman, Andrew Bagley is looking forward to seeing the NART Spider at Blenheim: “The Ferrari 275 GTB/4 S is a model that will resonate with many of our audience – especially with its connection to an iconic ‘60s film, and of course, Steve McQueen himself. It’s also a model that’s attained near-mythical status in more recent years, so its place in our Ferrari 75th Anniversary class is hugely anticipated.”
Ferrari 365 P
Salon Privé’s second star of its Ferrari 75th Anniversary class enjoyed a fascinating period as an official Ferrari works competition car, including notable race victories with Surtees and Bandini, before being developed into a larger-engined car for a famous privateer team.
Originally built as a 275 P2 in 1965 for Ferrari’s works team, prototype chassis 0828 enjoyed considerable race success. Its first outing at the 1000km Monza on April 25, fitted with a 4-litre 330 P2 engine and driven by John Surtees and Ludovico Scarfiotti, gained the factory a second place overall. But the following month, it took two consecutive race wins, the first at the Targa Florio (powered by its original 3.3-litre 275 P2 unit) at an average speed of 63.73mph, driven by Nino Vaccarella and Lorenzo Bandini. There was then a second victory at the 1000km Nürburgring with, again, 330 P2 power and the Surtees/Scarfiotti pairing, the former achieving the fastest lap of 8m 50.5s.
Chassis 0828 also formed part of the Ferrari works’ assault at Le Mans the same year, giving Ford a bloody nose, after it dared to challenge Maranello with its new GT40 in the wake of a failed buy-out bid of Enzo’s company in 1963. While the example confirmed to be displayed at Salon Privé, once more fitted with a 4-litre engine, failed to finish the race, retiring on lap 225 with gearbox failure. However, its sister car came in 7th, with Ferrari 250 LMs first and second overall.
As with many Ferrari’s works cars, 0828 then went into privateer-team service, being delivered to Ecurie Francorchamps in January 1966. Now fitted with a 4.4-litre 365 P engine producing 380bhp, and red-lined at a slightly less frenetic 7300rpm (the original 275 was rated to 8500rpm) it continued its run of success with second places at Circuit Zolder and Montlhéry, and a notable finish at Daytona, joining two other Ferraris to take the chequered flag.
After leaving Ecurie Francorchamps, the 365 P was bought by Drogo, Scuderia Ferrari’s coachbuilder in the Sixties, and then went to French collector Alberto Uderzo, creator of cartoon character Asterix. After a fire at Imola, the car was restored by an Italian enthusiast who went on to campaign it in the European Historic Sports Car Championship with considerable success.
More recently, 0828 has undergone a full restoration at the Ferrari factory back to its original Ecurie Francorchamps racing colours. The 365 P has since been awarded Ferrari Classiche certification confirming its matching numbers engine and gearbox.
Salon Privé’s Chairman, Andrew Bagley, summed up the importance of the 365 P’s presence at Blenheim: “We’re so pleased to be entrusted with such a rare and special competition car. The 365 P was an important part of Ferrari’s race armoury in the Sixties, and to be able to show an example that has such incredible provenance is an honour. I’m sure it will be a go-to car for anyone viewing our Ferrari 75th Anniversary class.”
With a programme that includes Ladies’ Day presented by Boodles on Friday, the Salon Privé Club Trophy presented by Lockton on Saturday, and Sunday’s Classic and Supercar event, all the elements are in place for another unmissable Salon Privé Week.